Health and safety signs are essential for maintaining a safe working environment and ensuring compliance with UK regulations.
Signage must adhere to strict rules to maintain consistent visual language. This extends to both colours and shapes.
In this blog, we will explore the legal requirements for health and safety signs in the UK.
Rules for colours and shapes in UK safety signs
Safety signs use a combination of colours and shapes to convey specific messages and actions. Four main colours are used: red, yellow, blue and green.
Colours and shapes for signage must follow the British and European Standards (BS EN ISO 7010), which ensures consistent visual language for health and safety signs across the UK and Europe.
The primary colours and shapes used in UK safety signs include:
- Red: Prohibition and fire equipment signs (e.g., “No Smoking” or “Fire Extinguisher”). Prohibition signs should be circular, whereas fire equipment signs are typically rectangular.
- Yellow: Warning signs (e.g., “Caution: Wet Floor”, biohazard, explosion, etc.). These should be triangular.
- Blue: Mandatory signs (e.g., “Wear Safety Goggles”). These should be circular.
- Green: Safe condition and emergency escape signs (e.g., “First Aid Kit” or “Fire Exit”). These should be rectangular.
For more information on colour usage, see the HSE website.
Any regulated signs you add to your workplace must conform to these standardised colours.
There are also rules for how much of the sign should consist of colour. For example, hazard and mandatory signs must include 50% coloured background with a white pictogram displaying the instructions.
Moreover, there are rules for the pictograms used and some signs (e.g. fire exit signs) should be illuminated or constructed from photoluminescent material.
Legal requirements for health and safety signs
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 require employers to provide and maintain safety signs where significant risks can’t be avoided or controlled by other means.
Employers must ensure that signs are:
- Compliant with BS EN ISO 7010
- Properly maintained and in good condition
- Clearly visible and legible
- Positioned in a suitable location
Additionally, employers must provide training and instruction on the meaning of safety signs and the actions people should take.
Choosing the right safety signs for your workplace
Selecting the appropriate health and safety signs for your workplace is crucial for providing a safe and compliant workplace. Consider the following factors when choosing safety signs:
- Assess the risks: Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential hazards and determine the appropriate signage.
- Customisation: Consider customising signs to include specific information relevant to your workplace. These are called supplementary signs.
- Material and durability: Choose signs made from high-quality, durable materials suited to your workplace environment (e.g., indoor or outdoor).
Size and visibility: Ensure signs are large enough and positioned correctly to be easily seen and understood. Fire-related signs may also require illumination.
Elmtree Signs offers a comprehensive range of safety signs, including customisable options, to help you meet the legal requirements for health and safety signs in the UK.
Contact us today to discuss your health and safety signage requirements and ensure your workplace remains compliant and safe.